Advantages and Disadvantages of being ICs

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by never ever alone, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. never ever alone

    never ever alone Member

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    I looked for specific threads about being Intercollegiate Athletes at the USAFA and I have gotten bits and pieces. I hope this post will put everything in one place that would be easier to find in the future. Thanks a lot.

    Is it worth it or not?
     
  2. FromRVa15

    FromRVa15 Member

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    there are people that can make it work, and there are people that are always on the struggle bus. you REALLY have to manage your time well to get your schoolwork done.

    and then there is the tzo gap, where the upperclassmen tend to have the perception that ICs are s**tbag cadets, and that's not really a good thing. but there are always exceptions to everything
     
  3. FlyingFuzz

    FlyingFuzz Member

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    Advantages- Camaraderie with your team mates, chances to get away from USAFA, competition in the sport you love, representing USAFA, etc.

    Disadvantages- Less free time, less study time.

    Really, the pros and cons are what you make of it. What is a pro for some people might be a con for others. I will just say that what I saw when I visited and from talking to past grads, the ICs were glad to be ICs and the Narps had wished they were ICs. Still, it isn't everyone's cup of tea.
     
  4. FromRVa15

    FromRVa15 Member

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    Not true. Yea, the ICs might get some sweet deals, but I definitely would rather stay a NARP than an IC. I can definitely say that the ICs struggled a bit more than the NARPs during Recognition, because they haven't done so much military stuff since BCT
     
  5. FlyingFuzz

    FlyingFuzz Member

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    I didn't say it was true for everyone, just of the people that I talked to. :wink:
     
  6. icarus

    icarus Member

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    In my DS's squad couple of ICs considered out-processing after the x-mas holidays because their schedule precluded them from going home and played through instead. Luck of the draw that they ended up having to play while the rest of the wing was at home with family.
     
  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    The academies are made up of some very exceptional people. Most are the best of the best in their high school classes. I know there are some that think of IC's as the typical "Jock". Well, at the academies, that isn't the norm for most IC's.

    For what it's worth, I know of a number of IC's who maintained a 4.0gpa at the academy their freshman year. I know quite a few IC's who spent all or some of their 4 years at the academy playing their sport, and went on to Grad School. Don't underestimate IC's at the academies.

    As for the pros and cons, that is totally individual. As I said, quite a few athletes graduate with honors and in the top 10% of their academy class. Some go on to grad school, medical school, etc... So for some, playing their sport and keeping their grades up is a problem. And there are plenty of the athletes who are very much involved with their squadrons and their military training. Yes, there's the TZO gap, but when you talk to the cadets and ask them to put feelings aside, most agree that the "GAP" is definitely an individual thing. "SOME" athletes abuse their priviledge of being an athlete. Many are very much involved with the academy just like everyone else. Especially when their sport is out of season. But being able to play NCAA athletics is a dream come true for many. And whether they do it for 1 season or all 4, it's something that can never be taken away from you.

    As for the cons of being an IC, it's obviously still an individual thing and opposite of the pros. If you don't have the academic background, then it will be difficult to do both. You won't have much free time. As for those that thought about outprocessing after xmas because they were scheduled to play basketball or go to a bowl game; they SHOULD have dropped out and out processed. The majority of military life is being away from your family. If missing christmas with their family means that much to them; they should definitely get out. Sorry; but that's not even worth discussing.

    But overall; pros and cons are individual. As Fuzz said; what's a pro for some is a con for others; and the opposite is also true. Academy IC's are not like most university IC's. The academy IC didn't have a 16 ACT score to get in, like at the University of Whereverthehell. If you are an IC and want to go to the academy, then you have to realize what your priorities are. Those who realize that athletics are temporary and after they graduate and get commissioned, no longer matter; those will find the time to make sure their grades are good. They will make sure that they are part of their squadron and contribute. It means a lot more work, but it will be worth it. Those who only care about athletics will perpetuate the TZO Gap attitude. They will have a difficult time with their academics. Some won't last at the academy. Some will actually quit the academy because they aren't getting enough playing time. It's not hard to tell who really cares about the academy and the military and who came because they want to play a sport, and not other decent university oiffered them a scholarship.
     
  8. John41057

    John41057 Member

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    ICA

    I have to agree with Christcorp as my DS had offers at several division one schools that offered a greater chance for higher honors in his sport that the academy. As his academy coach said, it is not about the sport, its about making leaders out of these young people. If you follow sports, the academies have a much harder time recruiting high level D1 athletes as compared to other universities. Most highly ranked athletes are looking for that professional ticket to the big show, and not a five year service agreement after college. Also as Cristcorp said my DS also wanted the D1 sports experience as well as the academy. To get both he had to also perform athletically as well as in the class room. I could not and will not say that his playing ability did not get him his offer. His ability was what opened the door to the academy, but it was his ability and hard work as well as dedication that allowed him to walk through it. Now he will just have to work even harder to stay in the house.
    Regards
    John
     
  9. icarus

    icarus Member

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    The cool thing about this forum is the varied mix of opinions and experience from different sources. Anecdotes and first hand experience from recent graduates and current cadets are valuable in providing a much needed perspective from aspiring applicants and appointees that are researching specific issues.
    This is a valuable source but not the only source. I have met an Academy graduate who played basketball that now flies commercial who was so tall that he would have been disqualified from pilot training because of sitting height. Because of his success or connections from playing, was able to get a waiver and still fly. I also came across a book called "Skies to conquer"-it chronicles a year in the life of a squad of doolies. It depicts a couple of IC football players that were recruited from high school and spent a year at prep before the Academy. It might be worth reading into what they went through. I'd be leery of an armchair warrior tapping at a keyboard telling someone what he should or shouldn't do because no single source could possibly cover all bases. It's true that the service entails being away from home a lot. It's just a lot to ask 17-18 year old doolies to not be able to go home and be with family while everyone else does because they have to play but that's the commitment needed to make it through whether you're an IC or a NARP. On the other hand, there'll be plenty of time after they graduate and get commissioned to be deployed to some far away base.
     
  10. greentrees

    greentrees Member

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    The issue about not going home for breaks as an IC would be the same at a civilian school -- all college athletes give up their breaks to train/compete -- it's just a fact of college athletics.
     
  11. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    icarus. If you had said that the individual was considering QUITTING the team, and just remaining as a cadet, because he didn't like missing christmas and such..... I'd be with you 100%. There are a lot of athletes who quit their sport at the academy. It's not like a normal school. You didn't get a scholarship. I know some athletes who really wanted the academy; used their sport to get in; and as soon as BCT was over, told their coach they weren't going to play. They stayed on as a regular cadet.

    But you didn't tell me that. You said the individual was considering QUITTING the ACADEMY because they couldn't be home for Christmas. Sorry; that is NOT OPEN for discussion. You can say what you want, but it means nothing to me that they are 18 years old. Welcome to the military. Tell that to the Enlisted 18 year old who doesn't get 3 weeks FREE vacation in the summer; FREE vacation in the spring and holidays. Many of these 18 year old enlisted won't see their family for probably close to 2 years because of tech schools and finances. As I've said many times. Your kid DID NOT GO OFF TO COLLEGE!!! S/He joined the military. But again; many quit their sport because they can't do all of it and keep their grades. Some don't like the many restrictions the athletes have. But to say they thought about quitting the academy/air force because they couldn't go home for christmas. Sorry; no sympathy. No compassion. And considering that I was 17 years old when I entered the military, and didn't see my family for over a year the first time, I understand quite well. QUIT THE TEAM.... 100% with you. QUIT THE ACADEMY/Air Force.... Sorry, no tears in these eyes.
     
  12. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    It would be the same if civilian IC athletes began their school/athletic requirements in June and only had two possibilities (Thanksgiving & Christmas) of going home between then and Spring. Like most other military/SA things it is difficult to compare the military to civilian life.
     
  13. FlyingFuzz

    FlyingFuzz Member

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    Greentrees brings up a good point, it would be the same for ICs at a civilian college as well. It isn't unheard of for ICs to be gone from home for eleven months. I know some people competing for a school that did the eleven month stint (Christmas break to Thanksgiving break the next year) because they were travelling with the team over spring break and over the summer the entire team did summer school as well as travelling to tournaments and other competitions.

    Being an IC is about dedication and passion. How much do you love your sport and how much are you willing to sacrifice?
     
  14. icarus

    icarus Member

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    The point I'm trying to make is I wouldn't tell any prospective cadet what they should or shouldn't do. I'm merely submitting what I think would be relevant but It's ultimately their decision after gathering all the facts they can and should. Each individual will have different reasons on why they would sign up for such a life changing event. I agree that they're not going to college- It's the military. That's obvious and have been overstated. I'm just sharing a bit of information I have come across regarding what the OP had asked about which would have proved useful to some if they have known sooner than later.
    BTW, Congratulations to the class of 2016 for getting through recognition.
     
  15. DevilDog

    DevilDog Member

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    My son was an IC athlete his 1st year. He did not make the team his 2nd year. He turned to boxing and did fairly well. He received a concussion right before the Wing Open last year. He did not box this year, he was thinking of playing rugby because it is the closest thing to the sport he truly loves, football.
    He could have played football at any of the Ivy League schools that were recruiting him, or even at a lot of the D1AA schools. I thought he would consider transferring because a few of the coaches left the door open for him telling him that if it did not work out at Air Force, they would love to have him.
    I had lunch with him yesterday. I asked him if he thinks he made the right choice for his college education. Without hesitating, he said yes.
    He had a tough time his 1st year with school, practice, and everything else. He was willing to keep at it until he did not make the team his 2nd year, I know how much he enjoyed being an IC. He liked the little extra perks they got. But in the end, it is about the education and the opportunity to serve his country. He has found other outlets for his energies. He has been a leader in his squadron, he has learned and loves to snowboard, and has been involved with other things.
    I don't think a lot of these kids realize, they aren't the only person those coaches are recruiting. If you look at the rosters they tend to look like a pyramid, C4C's having a big number, then thinning out as you get to C1C. If a young person decides to go to a SA they have to want to serve their country more than play whatever sport they are recruited for.
    Another issue that comes up is a lot of these kids don't realize how much demand a D1 athlete has on their time. They have to be able to practice, lift weights, do their homework, etc. Most were the best athletes in their HS or even in some cases in their states. They worked hard to get tot that level, but to maintain and be able to compete they have to do more. Also, the coaches aren't there to be their friends and to coddle them. It really is a business at that level.
    Just my $ .02.
     
  16. melindayching

    melindayching Member

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    This is an interesting discussion to have on the heels of Recognition. My DD is an athlete and she didn't travel with the team this past weekend due to an injury. She was so glad to be there for Recognition and used it as an opportunity to "prove" that as an IC she was just as committed, just as willing to be a part of her squadron as anyone. Her squadmates helped here through meals (she hasn't eaten at attention since BCT since she ate IC ramps all year) and she helped her squadmates through the physical stuff since she is in top shape. They worked together on knowledge and all in all really pulled through together. If she had been away, she would not have had this experience. Of course, we wish she hadn't gotten the concussion, and she would have wanted to compete, but she didn't. She got to prove that the "t-zo gap" doesn't need to exist. She received 2 special prop and wings from uppers, one that has been passed down year to year for having the best attitude, and another that has been passed down for being the toughest female cadet...and this is a girl who does her sport with ribbons in her hair and a leotard.
    Now, this doesn't make a case for IC or non-IC. This demonstrates the struggle that ICs have to deal with, and confirm that being an IC is not for everyone. Top recruits and performers in their sport would not have been left off the traveling squad (barring injury) to participate in Recognition and they would have missed out. My DD would not trade being an IC for anything. She loves her teammates, has another group with which she identifies, and is proud to put on the USAFA colors and represent. She also loves her sport and can't imagine not suiting up every day.
    As far as academics goes, she is in the Scholars program and spends many hours in EI before and after road trips. It is hard, very hard. But she is determined to make it work. She has certainly had her share of freakouts due to grs, problem sets, and knowledge tests coming on the heels of a road trip. But she has never once thought about quitting her sport.
    So as CC always says, it is up to the cadet as to whether it is "better" to be an IC or not. It's about attitude. Everyone's different. I just wanted to share with you that based on my DD's experience, you can make it work if you really want to.
     
  17. never ever alone

    never ever alone Member

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    thank you for the many helpful posts here. i just want to get some more info on the 2 things that always come up. 1) tzo gap (did a search and nothing came up) and 2)perks - what exactly are they, material or otherwise; and do most think that because of this, question #1 is perpetuated or reinforced. how does an IC avoid or minimize that? i know that a lot of practices conflict with drills and military duties, but is it fair to "penalize" the person who wants to serve his country, represent his school nationally and compete and play at the highest level physically? remember, these kids also have to compete to be on the team, and even more so actually get playing time.

    i know that there will always the the "jocks" and the attitude that comes with that but i think most of these athletes are there because they want to be there. i'm sure they would also rather be with their squadron and friends instead of being holed up and crammed in a hotel room having to study on the road instead of the library or eat a decent meal instead of rushing from practice to get food before the place closes. there are going to be sacrifices to be made and ultimately my child will have to decide what he/she wants to do about it.

    melinda, congrats on your DD and recognition and sorry for getting sidelined. just a few questions though, would she have been treated differently if she did go to the competition and did what she was supposed to do - represent USAFA to the best of her abilities? would she have gone if she could? would she always have to "prove" that she belonged there being and IC?

    the second part of this post is for those parents who have and/or had children ICs, how was the support from the teachers and administration? do they get help with classes and tutoring? i understand most ICs will have classes in the morning and early afternoon to get to practice. how hard is it for an IC to join club or intramural sports, if it is possible at all?

    again, thanks so much for the insight and information.
     
  18. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    For the most part, for my sons, their favorite part (and their roommates') of them being ICs was that on travel/tournament weekends, they did not have to "participate" in SAMIs. :shake:

    There are a lot of cons, there too: they arranged to take GRs (exams) BEFORE they traveled, which was difficult sometimes. Labs could be especially tough to work around. They must be EXTREMELY EFFICIENT at studying, day planning, etc.

    On the other hand, they got to go to California and the coach rented jet skis and everyone had a great time in the surf, several times.

    So, there are pros certainly, and definitely cons, most of which were mentioned here. For some kids, it might be hard for them to consider themselves as "NOT a tennis player" or NOT a fencer, or not a xxxx. It might even be difficult for the cadet's parents to accept that their child is no longer participating in a sport that mom has driven him and his sack-dinner to, to the tune of 20,000 miles a year over four or more years. Dad may wonder why Junior doesn't want the thrill of the gridiron, or the buck-up-and-take-the-pain of boxing or water polo. And, some cadets might not want to disappoint younger siblings or older coaches when they just would rather be in the Dungeons and Dragons club, or the BlueBards, or intramural frisbee golf.
     
  19. melindayching

    melindayching Member

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    To answer your question, Never, we'll never know what would have happened if she had left, but I would guess that she would have had to work harder to get the respect from her squadmates and the uppers and would have felt the odd man out for awhile. But she would not have said "coach, I'd rather not compete this week" either.
    For 100s night, she was competing that weekend so she spent the prior night and the next morning doing all the shopping for 2 rooms, but she didn't get any credit for the prep she did. For SAMIs, she's stayed up really late getting everything into SAMI order the night before so her roommate didn't suffer. So she tries to make up for being gone. But she also gets to eat at rest, has friends and mentors who are uppers on the team who help her out, buy her stuff, etc. She has 2 caring coaches who ask her how she's doing and look out for her, she gets to travel in military planes and sleep in a bed without worrying about messing it up, she gets to help with recruiting which means evenings out of the dorm area. And most of all, she is still doing the sport she loves and gets to represent USAFA.
     
  20. never ever alone

    never ever alone Member

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    melinda, wow such an amazing girl you have there, congrats to her and to you too. thanks for the quick response.
     

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